MEDIA ADVISORY: SHAME TOUR OF HARVARD
Two organizers from Corrientes, Argentina will visit Cambridge, Mass.
Cambridge, MA—On Saturday, April 5, two organizers from the communities most affected by Harvard’s timber plantations will arrive in Cambridge, Massachusetts for an 11-day tour and week of action sponsored by the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition.
In spring 2013, RI@H launched its responsible ownership campaign, demanding that Harvard take responsibility for the ethical practices of the companies it owns fully as part of its endowment.
After learning of ecological, land rights, and labor rights violations in Corrientes, Argentina near the plantations of Harvard-owned companies EVASA and Las Misiones, RI@H published an investigative report and mini-documentary, delivered letters to Harvard administrators, and held demonstrations on campus.
Community organizations in Argentina want Harvard to
1) stop expanding plantations within their communities,
2) remove plantations within 2,000 meters of their homes, and
3) comply with all legally required employment standards.
Although Harvard has responded to both students and Argentinian organizers, Harvard’s timber plantations have not yet complied with these demands.
With the support of Food and Water Watch, the Responsible Endowments Coalition, XminusY, and the Oakland Institute, as well as over 70 individual donors, RI@H has invited Emilio Spataro, an organizer working with local farmers in Corrientes, and Adrian Obregon, a leader in the local small producers association and a liaison to the larger Argentine campesino movement, to come to Harvard’s campus from April 5 – 16 for the SHAME tour (Stop Harvard’s Argentine Mismanagement and Exploitation).
Over the course of the week, the two delegates from Corrientes will speak to student groups, Harvard administrators, and student leaders about their experiences living under the shadow of Harvard’s plantations.
Spataro and Obregon have a scheduled meeting with Harvard administrators including Jameela Pedicini, Vice-President for Sustainability for Harvard Management Company; Lars Madsen, Office of the President of Harvard University; and Katherine Murtagh, Director of Compliance for Harvard Management Company.
The week of action will also include the following public events:
Wednesday April 9, 7–9PM: “From Harvard Yard to the Ibera Wetlands” (CUNY Graduate Center 365 Fifth Avenue Room C-203).
Thursday April 10, 8:30–11:00 AM: “A Conversation about Transnational Movement Building with Organizers from the Campaign to Save the Ibera Wetland’s in Corrientes Argentina” (New York City, location TBA)
Friday April 11, 2–3PM: “Rally for Justice in Iberá” (Convening on the steps of Widener Library, Harvard Yard)
Tuesday April 15, 4–5PM: Harvard College Undergraduate Council “Forum for Responsible Investment” (Harvard Yard, Room TBA)